Fiat Fresh-up part 2: who’s knocking?

This is apparently the year of the engine rebuild for me!  The attentive reader will know I have been lagging on pulling the FIAT engine, but no more.  The engine came out today with a minimum of fuss and of course now I am faced with deciding what to do about the rod knock that led to these circumstances.  You probably want to hear about the process first.  It goes something like this…

Fiat 124 seda engine coming outAlfa’s have a built in lift point on the head, not so FIAT’s, so I rigged up some tie-downs looped through the engine mounts.  The transmission and engine are only held together by 4 bolts, but they are M12’s or something.  Once everything was free I hooked up the hoist and went to work.

img_8328The tow straps worked a treat and once I realized that the flywheel cover was keeping the engine from coming out and I removed it the engine practically jumped out.  It pays to have shop mates with a hoist.

img_8331I’m not into having dirty hands and worry about grit getting in the engine so I quickly set to with some degreaser that looked like pee from a vitamin addict.  Old grease is tough stuff, but a stiff brush wielded by a patient hand is tougher and 45 minutes of toil revealed a pretty good looking little engine.

img_8333Viola!  The little guy cleaned up nice and I am led to believe these cars came with gray blocks from new.  Anyone know for sure?  This one has some blue over-spray from the brush up it got a few years ago.  A very different animal than the Alfa engines I’ve grown accustomed to.

img_8332This side is more surface rust colored than gray.  Coolant leaked, and leaked, and leaked, and leaked seemingly forever out of the water pump.  It is probably leaking right now in the dark shop as I type this.

img_8334The deal was that when I pulled the number two plug lead with the engine idling, the knock doubled.    This is the number two rod bearing.  Looks good to me, practically new in fact. Maybe a small end knock?  Off with its head!

img_833545.92mm in this position.

img_833745.71mm in this position.

img_833646.10mm in this position.

I am going to call the measurement inconclusive.  It’s hard to get the caliper in there and measure and these kind of calipers are not the best tool for measuring journals, a micrometer would be better.  I swallowed hard, looked up the hill and started climbing.  I guess the crank is coming out if I’m going to measure it correctly, which means the timing chest, clutch, flywheel etc is coming off which means the engine might as well a new head gasket while I’m in there.  D’oh, engine rebuild #2 for 2009!

img_8338I pulled the valve cover to see what could be seen.  There is a lot of baked on black carbon.  This engine wasn’t rebuilt with much care taken.  Good thing I’m re-rebuilding it!

So there I am, enjoying a Tecate looking at this sad engine laying on its side on my bench, thinking about how I’d rather be working on my Giulietta Spider and how it’s going to be probably a minimum of a few week ordeal dealing with it and it occurs to me that for the money and time it will cost me to do this, I could probably source a FIAT twin cam engine to drop in along with a 5 speed transmission.  Hmmm.

Before I began writing this I cruised the usual places one finds cars and parts and there is a 1974 FIAT Spider engine for $300 with no bids in my area.  The seller also has a 5 speed transmission.  I hear the shift lever is not in the same place requiring a slight adjustment to the trans tunnel, but it would probably be worth it, especially if the 5 speed has an over-drive.  I looked through my FIAT sedan/wagon manual and it says the UK version of the 1600 twin cam has 104hp, elsewhere I read the 1800 has 93hp.  ??  I want a UK 1600, or a US 1600 and a set of high compression pistons.  And suddenly our hero finds himself entering a whole new world.

Anyone out there reading this know much about FIAT engine swap compatability?  I want to hear from you.  I have a lot of questions.


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